For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Metal Poisoning Subject of Stryker Hip Replacement Lawsuit

On May 6, 2013, Louise Bezely filed a Stryker hip replacement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). In her claim, the plaintiff says that the Rejuvenate system she had implanted in 2010 failed prematurely, causing her to suffer serious complications and injuries that required painful revision surgery. She alleges that the defendant marketed, promoted and sold the Rejuvenate device without disclosing the risks associated with the hip replacement system.

A dual modular hip prosthesis, the Rejuvenate implant was used in patients requiring total hip arthroplasty or replacement due to joint disease caused by degenerative arthritis. The system was cleared for sale by the FDA in 2008, but just four years later, in July of 2012, the defendants issued a voluntary worldwide recall of the Rejuvenate implant along with ABG II components.

In a press release, Stuart Simpson, Stryker Orthopaedics VP and General Manager of Hip Reconstruction, said “While modular-neck stems provide surgeons with an option to correct certain aspects of a patient’s anatomy and hip biomechanics, given the potential risks associated with fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction, Stryker Orthopaedics decided to take this voluntary action.”

Heavy metal poisoning from Rejuvenate components

According to the plaintiff’s Stryker hip recall lawyer, Bezely began experiencing pain shortly after being implanted with the Rejuvenate system. A subsequent diagnostic workup showed no signs of device malposition, loosening or infection, which may have explained the claimant’s symptoms. Another round of testing that included blood work revealed the plaintiff was suffering from heavy metal ion contamination – a common complication among Rejuvenate recipients.  Her surgeons performed revision surgery in August of 2012 based on Bezely’s worsening symptoms.

The plaintiff is now seeking damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Physical impairment
  • Mental anguish
  • Aggravation of a preexisting condition
  • Loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Diminished earning capacity

Her Stryker hip replacement lawsuit alleges that the defendant failed to provide adequate warnings that the Rejuvenate could cause heavy metal toxicity, and that the manufacturer “failed to adequately test the alloy’s compatibility with chrome cobalt components in an effort to prevent corrosion and fretting at the neck/stem taper neck junction of this modular device.”

Like hundreds of others who are pursuing legal recourse after suffering complications from the Rejuvenate system, Bezely believes the hip replacement was defectively designed. The complaint alleges that Stryker failed to report adverse events with the Rejuvenate in a timely manner and failed to fully inform the FDA of unanticipated complications.

Punitive damages sought by plaintiff

In addition to compensatory and actual damages, the plaintiff is also demanding punitive damages against Stryker Orthopaedics for their alleged reckless, fraudulent and malicious conduct in regards to the now-recalled Rejuvenate device. Her lawyer adopts several counts in the Stryker hip replacement lawsuit including common law negligence, breach of implied and express warranties, design defect, strict liability, failure to warn, and manufacturing defect.

At present, more than 100 lawsuits alleging Stryker Rejuvenate injuries have been filed in courts around the country. The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) may soon decide to consolidate claims brought in district courts as MDL in an effort to expedite pre-trial proceedings.  Stryker has agreed that multidistrict litigation for Rejuvanate and ABG II lawsuits may be appropriate given the large number of claims.